Every now and then, I’m going to post something about my family’s life. Just because I love my kids and think about them all the time. And this is my blog, so if you’re here, you’re going to have to hear about this stuff. And yeah, sometimes look at pictures. (But not today.)
Yesterday, we went for another round of testing for Little N. The poor guy. He’s 17 months old today, and he has been in the hospital and doctors offices so often that he actually recognizes the nursing staff. When the nurse came into the exam room yesterday, he started a quite musical (and sweet and sad) litany of, “No! No, no, no, no no no no no NOOOOOOOOO!!!!” He knew she was there to bother or hurt him in some way – stethoscope, scratch, measure, weigh, needle prick, make him eat food – none of which he likes. What is the likelihood that she was there to give him a new toy car or train or read him a book? Not high. Poor guy.
We found out that he is still allergic to soy (a little) and quinoa (a lot), and we discovered a new but suspected allergy (sunflower seeds). But we get a pass on flax, which is HUGE. Flax is a common egg substitute in baking. We have been avoiding flax because of his sesame anaphylaxis. But now we have the green light to test flax at home. Hurrah!
His wheat food challenge was a technical fail – inconclusive – because after the first portion, he refused to eat any more. He did have one hive, but nothing else. But he didn’t eat enough of the wheat for the test to really count. The doctor suggested we try some wheat in very small amounts at home and see how he does. We are cautiously optimistic. He has more eczema than before, but that could be due to the weather rather than the wheat. He gets a little wheat every day now.
I went to three stores to find wheat bread that he can eat. Bread that does not have milk or butter or egg in it. Bread that is not cross-contaminated with soy or sesame or tree nuts or peanuts or barley or rye. Bread that does not have “natural flavors” or “colors” (which often come from seeds or nuts). My eyes were bleary from reading teeny tiny print in white on clear plastic on the labels.
And that’s just bread. I go through this for every single product I bring into our home. Every time. Because manufacturing can change between the last time I bought it and this time. And now it might be cross-contaminated.
And that’s just the shopping. I have to cook. I mean, I like to cook, but I don’t exactly have a choice about it. We can’t order food. We can’t eat out. I have to cook. Every meal. Whether I’m tired or in the mood for it or not. I have to cook, or we don’t eat. And forget grocery store shortcuts. I cook almost everything (well, except bread) from scratch. So that I can trust the ingredients. And because there aren’t a ton of shortcut products that are safe for kids with Top 8 plus allergies.
So, yeah. It’s exhausting. And stressful. So much food is basically poison to my son. And I’m responsible for childproofing the world for him until he’s old enough to look after himself.
So, we finish up at the hospital – exam, scratch test, blood draw, poor Little N screaming “Nooooo!” and crying his 17 month old heart out. And I grab a fake milk latte to keep my eyes open as we go home. Both boys bundled into the BumbleyBird (what they call our double stroller), wrapped in BundleMe’s and blankets against the 30-degree winds. Dusk was falling. I decided that walking home through the park would be far nicer than walking along the roads, so I turned the stroller into Central Park just as the boys dozed off. I took my last sip of latte and tossed the empty cup into a nearby trash can.
I was about to turn on NPR and catch up on the day’s news. But then I saw how beautiful the evening, early spring light was. And it was so quiet. Rare for me, living in Manhattan with two boys under the age of 4 and a Helden tenor husband. I put the ear buds away and glided onto a jogging lane in the road through the park, amidst the trees and the birds and the quiet and the joggers and bicyclists. I watched the top of the heads of my sleeping loves. I watched the joggers.
I watched the joggers and thought, “How lovely to be able to run. How wonderful to feel your blood pumping and the cool air of your breath in your lungs, the power of your legs moving, the solid, blessed ground beneath your feet, the wind playing with your hair.” And then I thought, “I have feet.” And I started to run. Slowly, building up speed. Running, running, running. The jogging Manhattanites, jogging past me in the other direction, those New Yorkers who glare and never smile – smiled. They looked at me in my business attire and long coat, pushing a double stroller with two sleeping babies, running and running, and they smiled. Warm smiles. Look at her – running.
I ran until I ran out of breath, and I floated the rest of the way home.
Food allergies are hard. But I can run.